I’m back with The Simpsons series of posts.
This episode is titled “How the Test was Won.” The link is here.
In this episode, Bart accidentally receives a perfect score on a practice test for the upcoming Vice President’s Assessment Test, by writing “Slurp My Snot” across his page. This enables him to attend a special pizza party, with a helicopter as his escort. However, it turns out to be a clever plan to purge the school of all bad test takers. Bart didn’t receive a perfect score and the helicopter is disguised as the school bus, with Otto at the wheel. He, Nelson, Ralph, Kearney, Dolph, and Jimbo are driven to Capital City, along with Principal Skinner, who was pushed onboard the bus by Superintendant Chalmers. On the way, Ralph stops for a bathroom break, and the bus is disassembled by a vandal (while Otto is still sitting in it). The group attempts to walk the rest of the way, but they lose Ralph on a garbage barge. Skinner signals for a piano cargo ship to rescue Ralph with its crane, but he accidentally stuns
the driver. Skinner rescues Ralph himself by jumping onboard the crate hoisted by the
crane and using the law of conservation of angular momentum. He lands on the barge and the kids and Otto follow him. As it turns out, the garbage barge they have all landed on is headed towards Springfield Elementary. The boys now believe that education is impressive due to Skinner’s saving the day, and so Skinner reads The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to the boys until they arrive, which they enjoy.
What I couldn’t help but realize from this episode, is that Standardize Testing doesn’t really prove how well someone can teach and inspire their students to learn. I know, shocker right? There are so many great educators out there that are probably being held back by the fact that they have this test looming over their heads and that they must have that be their driving motivation to teach well, instead of teaching to for the passion of teaching and inspiring the students.
On the other hand, we see that Lisa is freaking out soo much about this test, as she feels that it will follow her throughout her entire life and keeping her from obtaining great success in her life. It becomes worse when the superintendent tells the children that every answer is important and that this test means everything for the school to be successful. He informs to the children to not make any mistakes, and to “pray to whatever god they believe in.” The stress that is placed on some students to do these comments can be crazy. Life is already stressful enough, and to have a test that, well let’s be honest, really doesn’t mean much in anyone’s life, is unnecessary to have.
Once again I stand by the clever satirizing that the writers of The Simpsons have done in this episode, and once again, Standardized Testing is the brunt of the joke.